treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread - Page 24
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  1. #461
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    Jim Lyon
    Didn't you post a real life experience where you sorta left twenty hives behind un-managed and in the end they all died? Or, am I confused with some one else?
    Either way, I am new but so far my experience has been positive. I don't predict the future though. I am a cheap guy and this is only a hobby but I have enjoyed foundationless also.

    I may not march to the same drum but I have always enjoyed your out look on things as you relate them in post made on this site.

    Cheers
    gww
    Yes, I am migratory but had maybe 10 hives or so that wouldn't fit on the last load. They were untreated for a year previous plus an additional summer in Texas. When I returned that fall, they had benefited from a tallow flow with 3 still living and one actually looked impressive enough that I decided to do some grafting off of it but lost track of how those particular hives did. By the end of the spring they were all faltering from high mite loads.
    My big experiment in the late 90's was a disaster. We had a load of 512 story and a half hives off the almonds that looked really nice. They returned late as we were wrapping up our spring nucing and because we didnt need to pull any brood to get our numbers back we decided to just check them and rebuild anything dead or queenless and ship them north a little early. We put them on some promising clover locations, and supered them up confident that bees that looked this nice would surely be fine through the summer. We pulled a nice honey crop late in the summer but noticed that hive populations and brood patterns did not look good at all. By the time they were ready to be shipped south in October the only living bees out of the original 500+ hives were a few pathetic little mite infested clusters. 500+ hives now nothing more than a truckload of empty equipment. I remember my father who had recently retired and had never experienced varroa either just shook his head and asked "where in the heck are all the bees that made this honey".
    It was just a couple of years after varroa initially hit our operation and it was a real learning experience for me to say the least. Had we not treated the rest of our hives that spring I have no doubt that we would have literally been out of business at that point. So, I guess, when I hear people tell me that I haven't had any experience with tf beekeeping I like to tell them that that's not exactly true.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

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  3. #462
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    just shook his head and asked "where in the heck are all the bees that made this honey".
    LOL, great story Jim. He would not be the only beekeeper who ever said that.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  4. #463
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Jim
    I agree with old timer, great story though probably not so much at the time.
    I expect it for myself and when it happens, I will be glad the number is ten and not five hundred. To tell the truth, I am glad that I don't have five hundred. I don't want to work that hard when they do good either.
    Thanks for letting me know my memory is only mostly bad but that over all I got the concept of what happened kinda right.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  5. #464
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    I think bees are a bit more resistant than when varroa first impacted but I also think think bee health is impacted more than ever by viruses even when mite levels are relatively low. I don't come on here to knock tf beekeepers as I think everyone (including commercials) who are working towards more resistant stock should be respected for their efforts.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  6. #465
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    jim
    I don't want to shut down learning of what other do and have success with. If nobody says what their actual experiences are, I can not cherry pick the parts I want to steal from them for myself.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  7. #466
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    There have been more than a few demonstrations of people who seem to have many eureka moments and shortly afterwards change of thought taking them in opposite directions with equal conviction. They get very combative when questioned about their objectivity and powers of observation.

    There is no question about their enthusiasm, but their lack of any bit of humility can get a bit irritating. I think it might make better discussion if they would lead in with, or end their statements with more suggestion that their observations could possibly be flawed, rather than divine revelation.
    Frank

  8. #467
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    Rock Hill, SC
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    If you want treatment free bees read this thread.
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...-Hygienic-bees

    A lot of people post there and want to argue, even though they have no experience with MHs and go by stories and rumors.

    I've had the same stock for several years and never treated for mites. They are thriving and the mites are not.
    Last edited by Cyberman; 04-28-2019 at 09:38 AM. Reason: Typos

  9. #468
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    I think bees are a bit more resistant than when varroa first impacted but I also think think bee health is impacted more than ever by viruses even when mite levels are relatively low. I don't come on here to knock tf beekeepers as I think everyone (including commercials) who are working towards more resistant stock should be respected for their efforts.
    I think the ever lowering mite thresholds should be a top concern. If we understood that and managed for it, then mite thresholds should be stable over time or even increase a bit without impacting vulnerability of viruses. For my tf bees, fall mite thresholds for strong colonies in spring would be very high compared to your standards. Mite distribution curves have shifted to lower mites (and I will shift further with extra selection) , but I think what also is happening is that there is some selection for virus resistance as well, at least the local ones. On a practical level how else can we do that? That may be the biggest benefit of tf beekeeping and is why it is we need to be looking closely at these stocks and unravel what is happening in terms of viruses.

  10. #469
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    What happened to civility? This is an opinion thread, by it's very nature there will be disagreement. But that is an opportunity to learn and examine your own beliefs when they are challanged. Is there really a right or wrong? Ok, yes, if your bees die every year, something is wrong, but if you learn from it and do not keep repeating the same mistakes, then a person becomes a better beekeeper. And that is what this forum is all about. It is shame Sybille left because I enjoyed reading her posts, even though I did not agree with her methods. Who are we to judge?

    You are right.
    I apologise for lowering the tone of the forum.

  11. #470
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    As humans we think we can fix anything and in the end usually do more damage by trying to fix things. Instead of just letting mother nature fix it. After all we r the ones who started the problem. Maybe if humans never treated the bee's through evolution would learn to live and deal with mites. Saw a video about a beek in New Zealand, i think thats were he was from. He put the mites from hives under a microscope and saw scratches on them from the bees removing them from one another. Wish i could remember were i saw it. My hives are not TF but they are chemical free. I run screened bottom boards all year long. Overwinter single brood box with one full honey super. Only way i treat them is during times of high mite loads i dump confectioners sugar on bees and they clean each other and mites fall off. Personally i think pesticides and lack of good forage is harder on bee's then mites. In nature the strong survive. But i could be wrong.

  12. #471
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by vtbeeguy View Post
    In my humble opinion
    If treatment free is truly doable why don't some of the major "pushers" of said philosophy open the books on their apiary? How many hives do you have? How many splits did you make? How many queens you produce each year? #s of honey produced and total losses for the year? If it can be done and is something that you believe repeatable shouldn't be a problem providing some proof of it.
    not so Humble Opinion, IMO, but fine your opinion is as valid as anyone. So IF I ever found the secret sauce I would likely either patent and sell it or not say a word. I do not owe any one to open my books. I have a right to privacy, read the constitution. the expectation that someone who spends most of their life and time and funds to find the path to treasure and then they publish it is a fantasy. Is the formula for the Stradivarius violin published?, is the typical rare thing all typed up and easy to find, not likely. I believe, Push on with your effort and do what works for you. read the lines and in between the lines. there is much knowledge out there today with translated books and websites. If newbies want to they can learn the ropes. There is little room today for ignorance. More likely to much information, and overwhelm. I had 1 book and trial and error. if the person wants to they can be a keeper today. And the only pushers I tend to see are pushing "treatment" So in summary, to each their own, until that freedom is taken away. I believe some sort of "Air space rights" similar to mineral rights would help with the over saturation of bees, bought, sold ,traded whatever. If we expect to be able to keep as we see fit then we also cannot "imply " others do it our way.

  13. #472
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    As I reasoned it out, my hives have mites. They all do. It just depends on the colony strength as to the damage they cause--or so it seems. So I quit trying to count mites. Since I can't count bees, the number of mites seemed irrelevant. 20 mites off a mason jar full of bees means different things in my mind based on the size of the colony and where the bees came from--were they foragers in their last week or nurse bees, is the hive 50,000 or 25,000? So I gave up and simply treat in the spring and fall. Moving my hives to an uncultivated/cropped location had more positive impact than treating mites. Just my opinion and approach. Since relocating the 6 colonies I've only lost one hive per winter due to poor management on my part, so its working for me. Poor management sounds judgmental, so let me rephrase that. It was due to me not being willing to commit the necessary time and effort for better management and inspections and feeding--poor management yes, but a conscience decision

  14. #473
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Ode1891 View Post
    As I reasoned it out, my hives have mites. They all do. It just depends on the colony strength as to the damage they cause--or so it seems. So I quit trying to count mites. Since I can't count bees, the number of mites seemed irrelevant. 20 mites off a mason jar full of bees means different things in my mind based on the size of the colony and where the bees came from--were they foragers in their last week or nurse bees, is the hive 50,000 or 25,000? So I gave up and simply treat in the spring and fall.
    if you always do the same size sample (eg- 1/3 cup, or 1/2 cup) you can establish a baseline for the number of bees you're sampling.

    Also, it is generally accepted that samples be taken from the broodnest where you have a higher percentage of young nurse bees (all with a similar exposure to mites in the hive). If you put the initial collection into a white plastic washtub, some bees will fly. Those are generally older bees. What is left is generally nurse bees. You have the added bonus of the queen being easier to spot. Some people get in a hurry at this stage because bees fly out, but if you take your time, you can more easily find a queen, and get mostly nurse bees.

    Having a baseline on mite population is really valuable, especially if you have a year when mite populations spike. It help explains an important change that impacts the health of your hive. Alcohol washes can take as little as 45 secs to 2 min to do. You get faster over time.

    You're not trying to get a total population, but rather a percentage of infestation on the bees in the broodnest.

  15. #474
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    I have 25 hives. Do I really need to kill nearly 2-1/2 # of bees to establish a baseline? I think, um, no. Since I treat with OAV, using the number of mites that I kill establishes a different baseline, one that tells me how many more applications are necessary to obtain effective control. I am a lot more concerned with how many mites are in the hive as opposed to how many per hundred bees which to me is quite meaningless since you are sampling a subset of bees shown to have a disproportionate number of the total mite load in the first place. Sampling error in selecting the bees or operator error in an incorrectly done wash can skew the results dramatically. However, if I do an OAV treatment and obtain say 200 dead mites on the bottom board, not only have I not killed any bees in the process, I have killed 200 mites. Using the 80/20 ratio of mites under cappings to so called phoretic mites, I can determine there were approximately 1000 mites in the hive. Now I have a good idea how many more I need to kill. Of course, if you are treatment free, you do need to monitor somehow to know when an intervention such as drone brood culling or a brood break is needed.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  16. #475
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by rkereid View Post
    if you always do the same size sample (eg- 1/3 cup, or 1/2 cup) you can establish a baseline for the number of bees you're sampling.

    Also, it is generally accepted that samples be taken from the broodnest where you have a higher percentage of young nurse bees (all with a similar exposure to mites in the hive). If you put the initial collection into a white plastic washtub, some bees will fly. Those are generally older bees. What is left is generally nurse bees. You have the added bonus of the queen being easier to spot. Some people get in a hurry at this stage because bees fly out, but if you take your time, you can more easily find a queen, and get mostly nurse bees.

    Having a baseline on mite population is really valuable, especially if you have a year when mite populations spike. It help explains an important change that impacts the health of your hive. Alcohol washes can take as little as 45 secs to 2 min to do. You get faster over time.

    You're not trying to get a total population, but rather a percentage of infestation on the bees in the broodnest.
    Yep, I get all that

  17. #476
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    What do you find most effective in treating? We've run the gamut and seem to have a losing battle from time to time.

  18. #477
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Magyar Apiary View Post
    What do you find most effective in treating? We've run the gamut and seem to have a losing battle from time to time.
    The treatment I find most effective, by far, is Apivar. I also use OAV at different times of the year. I have used Apiguard and MAQS in the past.

    But from my experience, Apivar is by far the most effective.

    This does not consider costs, ease of use, desire not to place synthetic miticides in hives, etc. I am only speaking to effectiveness.

  19. #478
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Quite frankly I have used only OAV for the past 6 years or so, and my losses are below 10 % from year to year. I am also ashamed to say that most of my losses are starvation related with a queen loss in mid winter here and there and occasionally the cluster separated form stores over a prolonged cold spell. But each of my 40 odd colonies gets at least 12 treatments a year so it is time consuming and reasonably cheap. I am past my 3rd treatment of 5 that are 5 days apart and an observation hive that I keep track of in my house has not dropped a single mite over the last 3 treatments but none the less I will continue with the treatments. If one is isolated enough I wonder if you could become mite free?

  20. #479
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    I'm using OAV exclusively, and I call it the "clean slate" approach. In Sept, Oct, Nov, and Dec, the bees get an OAV every 2-4 weeks, depending on how many fly days. More fly days, more like every 2 weeks. I've found that bees in my area can go rob during a fly day post-frost, bring back honey... and a whole lot more. And a low-mite colony (low alcohol wash in Sept, low mite frass in brood combs in deadout) can end up with 60 mites/300 bees and dead in 2 months from robbing the wrong colony.

    So.... I am at the point where I have low mite counts through Aug. Like 2/300 in Aug. Or 0. But... since there is minimal mite pressure, there is minimal visible mite tolerance. I can't tell who can take the heat effectively.

    I'm focusing my breeding efforts on 1) no swarming; 2) winter survival; 3) honey production (which also means drawing comb); and 4) acceptable temperament. It's hard to fault the girls if a full-sized colony gets pissy when I inspect on a sunny 90+ degree day and I am crushing some bees (unintentionally!).

    When I feel my stock is acceptable in those areas, I will start to compare how they handle NOT fall/winter treating. The great thing about OAV is that I can do a treatment at almost any month. So I can start comparing a few colonies, down the road.

    I will say that there is talk here and there about the punishing effect viruses have on bee colonies - that for me is a great reason to keep mite levels low.

  21. #480
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    Default Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread

    Trish i suspect some of those high mite levels may be caused by other than robbing.

    An OAV treatment once every 2 - 4 weeks just isn't going to have more than a small effect. It is considered that at any one time, 80% of mites are within the brood. This would leave 20% phoretic and available to exposure to the OAV. The 2 - 4 week interval between treatments is plenty of time for the other 80% of mites to emerge and complete another breeding cycle, or maybe 2 breeding cycles if they emerged soon after treatment.

    When I experimented with OAV, at first i went with the (then) recommended interval of 5 - 7 days between treatments. Even that did not get an effective enough result, i experimented with time frames and eventually got good results at a treatment every 3 days, 7 times.

    The OA itself was very cheap, and i think it's a great idea, but as a commercial operator this had me tied up for weeks just going around OAV'ing hives and i could not afford the time, had to give it up. But for a hobbyist it would be viable.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

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